Colorado Community Media asked the following questions of state Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood, ahead of the 2020 legislative session, which began Jan. 8. Froelich represents House District 3, which includes Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village and parts of northern Littleton.
What can be learned from the 2019 session?
In the historic 2019 session, Colorado stood in contrast to Washington, D.C. We passed legislation to address the very real threat of climate change, to protect renters and working families, and to increase funding for education and transportation. In addition, 95% of our bills passed with bipartisan support. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of how much we work together across party lines.
What bill or bills are you most looking forward to working on in the 2020 session?
We will continue our work to reduce emissions and improve Colorado’s air and water quality. I served on the Zero Waste Interim Committee, and we have several pieces of legislation coming forward to improve our state’s recycling rate. I’m excited to help advance several bills that came out of the School Safety Interim Committee that will improve access to mental health for students and increase the effectiveness of our school safety programs.
I am also excited to address the dire needs of the intellectual and developmentally disabled community — to move more people off of the waitlist for services and allow those services to be performed in schools.
In light of Proposition CC’s failure in November, what steps should be taken for transportation and education funding?
Transportation funding is particularly challenging because funding is largely dependent on the gas tax, which has stalled at 22 cents (for decades) while at the same we have more efficient vehicles and the price of transportation projects has gone up.
Our budget is as tight as ever, and we need everyone at the table to solve our transportation challenges.
The Interim Committee on School Finance is working on a proposal to overhaul the School Finance Act to make it more equitable and student-centered ... I know that my colleagues on the Joint Budget Committee and members of my caucus are also committed to continuing to buy down the Budget Stabilization Factor to continue our investment in our schools.
What do you envision as the most daunting challenge this session?
(It) will be similar to prior sessions, which is that there are a lot of different groups and voices that we want to ensure are a part of our legislative process. It’s important to bring everyone to the table and produce a product that makes a real difference in people’s lives and that takes into account the views of a diverse group of stakeholders. There will always be special interests and loud voices that try to block progress, but we will do our best to present and advance solutions that address the challenges Coloradans are facing because that’s what we were sent to the Capitol to do.
Describe a successful 2020 session.
A successful 2020 session will continue to keep the natural beauty of Colorado as a priority, strive for an economy that works for all and ensure that a strong public education is provided for all students. We will be respectful of different opinions and our colleagues and continue to operate in a bipartisan manner.